Friday, November 18, 2011

ABLE Bill Creating Tax-free Savings Accounts to Supplement Special Needs Trusts Is Expected To Pass This Year

Parents raising children with disabilities, including autism and Down's Syndrome, could soon save for their futures with tax-free “529″ savings accounts without jeopardizing their eligibility for other benefits.
The new accounts would be authorized under the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2011 (H.R. 3423), which was introduced on November 15, 2011 in Congress with the support of Autism Speaks, The Arc, the National Down Syndrome Society and a host of other disability rights groups. The bill appears to have bipartisan support.
The ABLE Act, sponsored with bi-partisan support in the House by Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and in the Senate by Senators Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC), would amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code to allow individuals with disabilities and their families to deposit earnings to tax-exempt savings accounts.
The funds could be used to pay for qualified expenses, including education, housing and transportation, and would supplement, not replace, benefits provided through private insurance, employment or public programs.
Qualified disability expenses would include: school tuition and related educational materials; expenses for securing and maintaining a primary residence; transportation; employment supports; health prevention and wellness costs; assistive technology and personal support; and various miscellaneous expenses associated with independent living.
Currently, there are few options for families to save money for those with disabilities who often cannot have more than $2,000 to their name without forfeiting many government benefits. One existing option that our office specializes in is the "Special Needs Trust," which allows families to set money aside for the benefit of a person with a disability under the care of a trustee. An ABLE account would operate more like a bank account and would be less involved than a Special Needs Trust.
Special Needs Trusts will remain important tools in planning for the disabled especially since ABLE will have significant limitations once those accounts reach $100,000 (for example, disqualifying a disabled person from receiving SSI).

Posted by Henry (Hank) J. Moravec, III, a partner at
Moravec, Varga & Mooney, A Partnership. For a free 30 minute consultation (telephonic or in person), you can e-mail Hank Moravec at hm@moravecslaw.com or call him at (626) 793-3210 or (818) 769-4221.

With respect to tax and estate law issues, Hank Moravec has over 20 years' experience as one of the best Los Angeles estate and trust tax attorneys and Los Angeles Special Needs Trust attorneys and is available should you need legal advice regarding your own or a family member's situation. For a consultation, You can e-mail Hank Moravec at hm@moravecslaw.com or call him to request a consultation.

The firm website is http://www.moravecslaw.com/. The firm has two offices and consultations and meetings can be held at either office. We can also arrange to have consultations at your home or office.

The San Gabriel Valley office is located at 2233 Huntington Drive, Suite 17, San Marino, California 91108. There is ample free parking adjacent to the firm's office. Call (626) 793-3210.

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